Becoming a translator is both a demanding and can often be a lucrative job if approached in the right way. This is one of the many jobs that attract the attention of high paying retail companies and manufacturers looking for simple translations of various products such as instruction manuals, leaflets, booklets etc. Often translators would need to travel with the business partners for effective negotiating, meetings, guidance or even translate presentations.
A translation company can comprise of agents delegating work to candidates suitable within the field and who have the desired language needed for the business organisation. Or some translators may set up their own freelance company focussing on translating using one language. People wanting to become translators will need to prepare themselves on communicating with agencies, clients and business colleagues a lot of the time especially if they are working towards deadlines.
Many translators rely on receiving information from their agents, whether it is work that can be completed over a period or needs to be completed urgently for the next day. Some are hired within a company for international correspondence; these can be difficult to find and would require other skills related to the business world.
However, each translator has full control over the amount of work they receive from the translation company. Each translator works at their own pace, therefore, they have their set way of tackling each assignment without supervision. Furthermore, translators are able to discuss with the agent about the content information they have been given, for example if the assignment is not clear and the complete package has not been sent to them they are well within their rights to delay the deadline or warn the client that they will have to expect the deadline to be revised.
Working for a translation company means that you will need to pay close attention to working with the agents on meeting to deadlines. If there is a piece of assignment that is handwritten and is illegible, then the best thing you can do is to grin and bear it. Do your best to translate the piece, with the help of others and always keep the agent or client informed about the issues. There is nothing worse than handing in a piece of translated text back to the client or agent, without any prior communication or contact and passed the deadline date.
Some translators tend to run their own translation company or work freelance; therefore they are their own boss and will need to be in close contact with clients. Some translators, as mentioned before, are required to travel with their clients depending upon the nature of the work. It is possible to find work that requires oral translation and not necessarily text work, then you will need to be confident with communicating with people on a technical or business level. You will be expected to show as much enthusiasm and confidence with delivering to important business partners, and gain some knowledge in the subject at hand.
Many translators will find writing for instructional pieces in specified fields as difficult. This is why it is a good idea to keep a glossary of technical terminologies for each client, so you can refer back to this when you receive more work from them. Certain pieces will appear to be written badly. As a translator it is not your job to re-write the piece but to translate it only. Therefore, your direct translation will be a badly written piece. This works in the same way as if it were the other way round.
The idea is not to edit or improve the copy. Never feel obligated to improve one's copy but stick to translating it as it has been written. It would however, be a good idea to contact the client about a completely illegible piece which is incomprehensible and difficult to translate. This way you can make clear on how you intend to work with it and whether you will have the work completed by the due date.
It is not as simple as translating then handing in the work. A good translator will receive more work if they are meticulous with the work they provide, the work they have completed and the quality of their work. It is always a good idea to produce something which is free from spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, in the style that the client has requested and always on time without fail. There are no excuses, therefore it is a good idea to get into a habit of this from the beginning.
Anna Stenning is knowledgeable about the role of the translator, what role the translation company will play and what the requirements are for translation work.